Stephen Majors of The Associated Press reports on a peculiar but escalating spat over Armenian and Turkish history between controversial Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and her 2010 challenger, David Krikorian.
At issue are comments made by an Armenian-American congressional candidate during the 2008 campaign. A Republican congresswoman from Cincinnati, Jean Schmidt, claims her opponent violated election law when he accused her of being a puppet of Turkish efforts to deny that the mass killings of Armenians during World War I constituted genocide.
The commission on Thursday found probable cause that David Krikorian’s statements violated election law, voting unanimously to bring the case to a full hearing.
The 94-year-old killings in Turkey are an unlikely topic for a congressional campaign in America’s heartland, where Schmidt’s staunchly conservative values find favor among a large portion of her constituents. But for Krikorian, Schmidt’s comments that she doesn’t have enough evidence to call the killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians “genocide” make her morally unfit to serve in Congress. Krikorian refused to shake the hand of Schmidt’s attorney following the hearing Thursday.
“It is my right under political free speech to point out these facts that she denies the Armenian genocide,” Krikorian told the commission Thursday.
He alleged that Schmidt had taken campaign donations from Turkish interests in return for “denying” the genocide.